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Conference Championships with Playoff Implications – Previews and Predictions

Adam Young | November 30, 2017
Auburn Tigers versus the Georgia Bulldogs.

SEC Championship (Mercedes-Benz Stadium - Atlanta, Georgia)


No. 2 Auburn vs. 6. Georgia
Vegas Odds – Auburn -2.5
Preview

This will be a revenge game for Georgia since Auburn manhandled them 40-17, but a win this weekend and they’re in. Auburn has two wins over then No. 1 ranked teams in the last three weeks including their drubbing of Georgia at home. Expect this game to be close throughout and it will likely depend on Georgia’ ability to keep Jarrett Stidham in check (he’s completed 72% of his passes in the last 5 games) and to slow down Kerryon Johnson, who suffered a shoulder injury against Alabama and will likely not be 100% for this game. Although Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a neutral field, it will feel more like a home game for Georgia.

Prediction: Georgia 24, Auburn 21

ACC Championship (Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, North Carolina)


No. 1. Clemson vs. No. 7 Miami
Vegas Odds – Clemson -9.5

Preview
Just like Auburn vs. Georgia, the winner is a lock to get into the playoffs. If Miami wins, this will be there best season since 2003. Miami seemed to be a team with nine lives before suffering a bad loss to Pittsburgh last week 24-14. This didn’t quite erase the good vibes of the Notre Dame beat-down, but they’ll have to channel that game’s performance to have a chance against Clemson. Look for Clemson’s dominant defensive line to give Miami problems too great to overcome in this one.
Prediction: Clemson 35, Miami 20

Big 12 Championship (AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas)


No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 TCU

Vegas Odds – Oklahoma -7

Preview

All Oklahoma needs to do is win and they’re in. TCU won’t back down, however and have firepower in quarterback Kenny Hill, who threw for 270 yards in the earlier loss to Oklahoma in a 38-20 loss. That said, there is a ton of momentum for Oklahoma, who are 6-1 in the last seven games against TCU. The X-Factor will undoubtedly be the play of Heisman trophy frontrunner Baker Mayfield, who has passed for over 4,000 yards this season with 37 passing touchdowns against five picks.

Prediction: Oklahoma 42, TCU 28

BIG10 Championship (Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana)



No. 8 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Wisconsin
Vegas Odds – Ohio State -6.5
Preview

This is a “win and get in” game for Wisconsin, but more of a “win and cross your fingers” game for the Buckeyes. This is a matchup of an undefeated but largely untested Wisconsin team versus the Jekyll and Hyde Ohio State team. Ohio State’s lack of consistency makes it difficult to know which team will show up – the team that dominates or the team that disappoints, and they’ve done plenty of both this season. Wisconsin boasts the nation’s best defense, but this will be the first test against an offense as powerful and versatile as Ohio State’s, who are scoring at over 40 points per game. The x-factor will be the play of OSU quarterback JT Barrett, who suffered a freak knee injury against a sideline cameraman before the Michigan game. The Bucks have a capable back-up who led the comeback against Michigan last week, so the loss of Barrett wouldn’t be devastating. Who can forget the last time Barrett went down right before a championship game after an injury to Michigan? Ohio State went on to beat Wisconsin in the BIG10 championship game 59-0 vaulting them into the playoff and eventual National Championship.

This game will likely be determined at the line of scrimmage. Will the Buckeye’s stout defensive line be able to stop the run against a powerful running game? Should be interesting.

Prediction: Ohio State 38, Wisconsin 30
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